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Plain English campaign news articles

Foreign Office plainly rumbled

At last year's Plain English Campaign awards, a Golden Bull was awarded to the Foreign Commonwealth Office for a jargon-filled job description. The FCO graciously acknowledged that plain English was a better way to communicate and even produced their plain English translation of the original text, which can be seen on our Golden Bull 2010 winners page.

Below is their reply:

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office attaches importance to clear communication, particularly with the British public.

This document, although for internal use with a specialist audience, did not meet these standards. Like the many other organisations who have received "Golden Bull" awards in the past, we accept it in the spirit in which it was intended - an encouragement to us to do better.

We would be grateful if you would publish this response and the translation below.

Read more: Foreign Office plainly rumbled

Plain power on television

The current television advertisement from energy suppliers, npower, shows a clear commitment to their Plain English Campaign corporate membership.
Promoting their latest Crystal Mark for clearer bills, the new campaign responds to the consumers' call for clearer bills.

You can see npower's press release below:

Read more: Plain power on television

Communication at odds with costs

This morning our press officer, Marie Clair, was asked by BBC Essex radio to comment on the article about a charity, Disability Essex, that has terminated its contract with a government department because of the resources involved in submitting 4,500 pages of information as part of the monitoring process required by the government contractor.

http://thirdsector.co.uk/news/Article/1048205/enemy-red-tape/

Our Government have set up the Big Society Deregulation Taskforce (BSDT) in a positive effort to investigate unnecessary bureaucracy. Plain English Campaign are willing to help by offering our services based on our past experience during the Rayner Review of 1983, that worked successfully to reduce unnecessary paperwork in government.

Read more: Communication at odds with costs

Jargon – you can stick it on National Plain English Day

National Plain English Day falls on Friday 10 December 2010 and will coincide with the Plain English Campaign's annual Golden Bull awards.

National Plain English Day started with the launch of the campaign when the supporters travelled to Parliament and set to shredding jargon-filled documents on Parliament Green. The police then intervened and read out the legalese-filled Metropolitan Police Act, prompting Chrissie Maher, founder of Plain English Campaign to ask,

“Does all that mean we have to go?”

Read more: Jargon – you can stick it on National Plain English Day

Typo torture and grammar groans

Message from Marie Clair, press officer at Plain English Campaign.

Thank you to everyone who has contacted the office to let us know, or complain about, the grammatical errors in my recent quotes published online and in the press this week. The quotes related to the school teacher whose unfortunate, and numerous, email errors were sent to me for comment by a news agency.

The teacher's email is a reminder to us that communications made in a hurry can contain mistakes. In many jobs where communication is a major part of the job, deadlines and a heavy workload can leave little time for preparation and proof-reading.

The printed errors of my quote are a reminder that verbal information is more likely to be misinterpreted. The spoken word doesn't have punctuation, good spelling and proper grammar to accurately communicate meaning.

We all make mistakes, but we have a responsibility to communicate clearly, by using a spell-checker before we send our emails, or by providing only written comments to the press.

It's reassuring to know that there are people who care about using the English language properly. I will 'try harder', as my old school reports often suggested. I hope I don't make as many mistakes in one email as the now infamous teacher, but if we set ourselves as examples then we must accept any justified criticism with good grace and learn from it.

Please carry-on complaining to all those that use jargon and poor communications, including me.

Everyone has a right to crystal-clear information that they can understand first time round.

Below are links to some of the press coverage of the teacher's email:-

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